This drug known as dexamethasone is a steroid which stops the discharge of substances in the body which cause inflammation. It is used in treating various disorders like skin conditions, lupus, ulcerative colitis,breathing disorders or arthritis. This medication should not be used if you are sensitive to dexamethasone of if you are having an infection caused by fungus. Before you take dexamethasone, inform your doctor regarding your medical situations, and regarding all other medicines you are using.
There are other diseases which could be affected by other medicines and the utilization of steroid which may work together with steroids. If you are experiencing unusual stress like serious illness, fever or infectionor have medical emergency, you may need to change your steroid medication. This drug can reduce the immune system, which makes you susceptible to get infected or worsen the infection that you already have. Inform your doctor regarding your infection or illness that you have within the past several weeks.
What is Dexamethasone used for?
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid medication prescribed by doctors to treat several diseases. It is available in different dosage forms which includes eye drops, oral liquids, injections, ear drops and oral liquids. Below are some of the conditions that uses dexamethasone in treating the diseases:
- Allergic conditions like dermatitis, allergic reactions and asthma
- Skin conditions like mycosis fungoides, pemphigus, severe allergic drug reactions and psoriasis.
- Hormonal disorders, like adrenal insufficiency, congenital hyperplasia, and high blood calcium from cancer.
- Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
- Symptomatic relief of particular cancers, like leukemia, lymphoma and metastatic brain tumors.
- Nervous system conditions, like brain swelling, head injury, and brain swelling related with a brain tumor.
- Eye conditions like temporal arteritis, keratitis, uveiltis as well as other inflammatory condition of the eye.
- Inflammation due to otitis externa
- Treatment of proteinuria or high urine protein or increase the production of the kidney problems, or systemic lupus erythematosus
- Respiratory disorders, due to particular types of pneumonia, sarcoidosis and tuberculosis
Common Dexamethasone side effects
Dexamethasone can result in side effects similar to other medicine. But, not all who takes the medicine will experience the adverse effects that others might experience. Actually, there are some individuals that can tolerate the effect quite well. If in case side effects do happen, most of the time they are minimal and does not need any medication or are cured easily by your doctor. The side effects that you could experience while taking dexamethasone are as follows:
- Infection or cold which takes longer
- Slowly healing wounds
- Mood changes like euphoria or depression
- Hallucinations or psychosis
- Signs of ulcer or gastrointestinal bleed like blood in the stool, black starry stools and coughing up blood
- Joint pain or severe tendon or a ruptured tendon
- Mucous membrane or fungal infections of the nails, skin
- Swelling or fluid retention
- Problems with eye vision loss of peripheral vision, double vision, clouded or blurred vision
Dexamethasone Side Effects on Children
Although they may make your children feel better if they take dexamethasone there are still some side effects that you might experience. The majority of these side effects will be gone once the medication is completed. But, in some cases dexamethasone may require to be utilized for months, and then some side effects will take longer.
Dexamethasone can cause stomach irritation such as heartburn. Your child should take dexamethasone with food. Antacids may be given like ranitidine that will reduce the production of acid. If in case your child has difficulty in bowel movements, your child can take a stool softener. This will help the child to have a normal bowel movement. Irritability and other personality changes are some of the side effects that children might experience. It can be mild symptoms like crying or mood swings easily, or even serious behavior. This side effect will not last long and will be reduced once the dose of dexamethasone is reduced.
DexamethasoneSide Effects on Men
There are side effects that only men can experience but these adverse effects may be gone once you have stopped taking the medication. One of the side effects that is common to men is psychological instability. Irritability, personality changes and mood swings. Depression, insomnia and headaches may happen in individuals taking this drug. Some of the dexamethasone side effects may reduce the ability to fight infection as well as fertility changes, particularly in men. A potentially life-threatening allergic reaction also known as anaphylactic shock may occur in some individual taking dexamethasone. Some of the symptoms may include reddening of the skin, intense itching and hives. Rapid pulse and anxiety may also develop.
In some cases, a person’s ability to breathe might be compromised. This requires an immediate action and should be brought to the hospital at once. Epinephrine might be given to treat an anaphylactic attack. Increased heart rate and shakiness are common after taking an epinephrine injection. These effects are not normally dangerous, except in individuals who have cardiac problems. Monitoring is important before being allowed to go home.
Dexamethasone Side Effects on Women
Dexamethasone may result in some non-serious and temporary side effects in the digestive system. This medication may cause the individual’s stomach to become upset, that may result in vomiting and nausea. The drug may also irritate the stomach and might cause indigestion. Doctors might inform you that these effects might be gone once you stop the medication.
In women, dexamethasone might affect the normal menstrual cycle. The drug can cause the woman to have irregular menstruation cycles and it may cause her menstrual cycle to vanish. This normally happens at the beginning of the treatment using the medicine. If she continues to experience this side effect then she needs to ask her doctor what she should do.
Women may also experience nervousness while taking dexamethasone. The medicine likewise may affect the normal sleep, which results in insomnia, or the inability to stay asleep or go to sleep. As compared to other non-serious side effects of any drug, people might be experiencing them should ask your doctor right away if they look severe or continue beyond that beginning of treatment.
Dexamethasone Side Effects on Pregnant Women
FDA assigned dexamethasone pregnancy category C. Studies done in animal shows the evidence of teratogenicity when dexamethasone is given orally or if ointment are applied. There are no known recorded data in pregnant woman. Dexamethasone is only suggested for use while pregnant if there is no other substitute medication and if the benefit is higher than the risk.
There is no information on the secretion of dexamethasone in mother’s milk. There are some which can be excreted in human milk in minimal amounts. The producer of this product suggested that because of the possible serious adverse effect on nursing baby, a decision should be made to discontinue the drug or nursing, consider the significance of the drug to the breastfeeding mother.
Dexamethasone Side Effects on Elderly
Dexamethasone used in elderly should be taken with caution. Elderly with history mental illness like depression,renal disease, heart attack, heart failure, liver disease, glaucoma, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, high blood pressure and is taking steroids in the past, herpes and simplex infection of the eye, genital herpes, cold sores,or asthma should inform their physician before taking the drug. Patients sensitive to dexamethasone should not take the medication.
Elderly may also experience insomnia, and also it is suggested that patients should take dexamethasone in the morning instead in the evening to avoid some of the stimulatory effects which may be seen. The patients taking dexamethasone should be taking them together with other immunomodulatory drugs such as lenalidomide and patients should be conscious that they require to be underthromboprophylaxis if they are taking dexamethasone together with immunomodulatory drugs.